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The Future of .NetWeblogs

Scott Posts a big dilemma about the future eco-system of .NetWeblogs. Here's what i think.

The Editor idea sounds good. I'd register for the feed if it dealt solely with specifit .Net News. In fact, count me in as a volunteer if you need me. I'd consider it an honor.I do think some stuff needs to be considered beforehand - see below.

I'd skip the "MSFT Bloggers" category though. It seems a bit condescending in a way..? plus you might have MSFT bloggers who wouldnt want to be affiliated with MSFT in their blog - or would post on non-MSFT things. It would miss the mark i think. Also, the thought of people tuning in to the MS bloggers RSS feed seems a bit like inviting people to watch a zoo or circus show -" no matter what they say, we just want to see them because their from MS!"  - reminds me of the Microsoft Bloggers Watch Website .

About the noisiness of the main RSS feed: I never looked at it like that. I really like reading through the assortment of posts about everything from the main RSS feed. I can see the value of low Signal-to-Noise ratio when it comes to .Net related stuff but i think the personal angle is imperative as well.  If we look at SlashDot, you'll see that the main page actually shows Several different post categories at once - kinda like what you see today on the main RSS feed of .NetWeblogs(only the latter isnt categorized yet. but the effect is the same) and you can choose to see the main categories each in a different page. I don't know the ratings of the main page of SlashDot Vs. the Category Related pages in there, but i guess it's high. And i like it.

My point is - If wer'e going to make a Dedicated feed - we must make a counter dedicated feed for 'other' stuff. What that stuff should be exactly - that is to be decided(maybe more then one feed ...?) I'm not sure what your final goal about the .NetWebLogs community is : Is it to build a community dedicated solely to .Net? or is it about other stuff as well? I think one without the other wouldnt work. It wouldnt be a community in a real sense.

What i see from other bloggers , And i'll take the MS bloggers as an example here, I can see some MS bloggers that even though are affiliated with MSFT - want their blog to be about themselves - their lives, problems,joys and of course technical stuff.  the point is - A blog is a way to express oneself  and that invariably entails personal stuff. Making that 'banned' or 'prohibited' would kind of miss the point of why people hold their weblog here. I know when I started this blog I did it mainly to express myself. to be known. to speak out and be heard .I do this by writing about .Net but not solely about it.

One of the reasons i like this community is that everyone gets a fair share of the main feed. so a person coming in who knows nothing about us will have an equal oppertunity to see any post currently in the 'recent' history. If you cut that, many blogs will go unread, and may not even get the chance to be heard.

Suppose I, as a programmer , write about something concerning some new thing Iv'e found. I'll post it. But before me, some other blogger posts about it, or an editor thinks it is of no importance for the main feed. So now, even though i write on related .net stuff - i dont get a chance to be heard. To get it i'll need to do something extraordinary, discover something or write a whole article. I also think that 'celberity' bloggers will get more screen time then others out of mostly popularity considerations. That means fairness is out of the game. Today I can post something and 2 minutes later Scott guthrie can read it and go to my blog just because at that specific moment in time it was interesting to him. If we change that it's back to zero visibility for non celebs or professional writers. You would lose many of the bloggers visibility simply because they would have less to offer in terms of popularity or importance of posts.

Take a look at SlashDot today. It's a very big community - but that means that everyone's voice is heard much more quitely accross distances. You lose you edge of having fresh posts from the field - from the smaller people who did not write books, who do not speak at conferences. To be slashdotted you need to find something that appeals to the lowest common denominator(in this case - juicy news) and that means you will rearly be seen by others unless you find other means on showing yourself besides slashdot.

This place is about a community that is around one big thing - .Net. But I think it's bigger then that. It's about people who love technology and really like .Net . That's why you'll see posts about people moving offices or memories of the old computer game days right next to posts about the lates fad in WS-I (btw, the posts on moving offices got quite a large number of hits and they weren't .net related) .

Right now this community is kind of socialist - everyone's post  bears the same weight. It is on the road to becoming something else- you will only see the posts chosen for you by their relevance. It has a good and bad. I think it can survive the change. but people will need to know that their voices will still be heard when they speak. It reminds me of the saying "If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it really make a sound?" I guess the same goes for Blogs as well..


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